Traquair's interest in architecture and art extended to book collecting. From 1917 to 1924, he was active on the Library and Prints Committee of the Art Association of Montreal and he served as Chairman of the newly established Gordon Home Blackader Library of Architecture Committee at McGill. For these two institutions, Traquair regularly purchased books during summer travels to Europe and he was instrumental in the purchasing decisions made for the Blackader Library throughout the academic year. A prime example is the exquisite volume of Piranesi's Opere Varie (1760-61), which is now considered one of the most important titles housed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McGill University. It was probably purchased in the early 1920s, upon approval from the Purchasing Committee of the Gordon Home Blackader Memorial Library. Among the many remarkable engravings, it contains a frontispiece self-portrait of the author. Highlights of Traquair's donations include two illustrated books by his mother, Phoebe Anna Traquair, several large format, highly illustrated works on architecture and related disciplines, and a rare French-Canadian historical novel.
The McGill University Accession Records from 1913 to 1939 indicate that Traquair donated books throughout his tenure. Though impossible to trace the full realm of book donations, he donated at least 68 titles, representing over 100 volumes. More than half of this total was donated in 1939, the year of his retirement.
At the time of his donations, Traquair was one of a group of distinguished donors, whose profiles ranged from the earnest Professor to the wealthy businessman/philanthropist, including such historical figures as: Dr. Francis MacLennan, Lady Roddick, Grace and Peter Redpath, Dr. W.D. Lighthall, Col. Casy A. Wood, Dr. F.D. Adams and Professor F.R. Scott. One cannot place Traquair's contribution at the level of importance of some of the donations made by the personalities above. Nonetheless, one can applaud Traquair's participation, which took on various forms, in the enrichment of the McGill University Libraries' collections.
The bibliography of donations sheds light on Traquair's personal interests and capabilities as well. For instance, he collected books in three languages, French, English and German. The subject areas mostly encompass Religious Architecture, Ornamentation, Art, Urban Planning but also Literature, including Travel Histories. Traquair is sometimes associated with the titles he donated, as in the case of membership copies and presentation copies from colleagues, family and students. This fact reinforces the notion that Traquair functioned largely within academic and artistic circles and that he held a prominent place within them.
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